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Geological and geophysical knowledge of the U.S. Atlantic margin has advanced rapidly during the last ten years, spurred by commercial interest in offshore petroleum exploration. The U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.), in particular, has been instrumental in providing thousands of line-kilometers of seismic reflection, geomagnetic, and gravity surveys. Several academic research institutions, such as Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, University of Rhode Island, Duke University, University of Georgia, University of Miami, and University of Texas have also contributed heavily to this geophysical data base. Geologic ground truth has been acquired, at the same time, from 5 deep (4,000 ± m) Continental Offshore Stratigraphic Test (COST) wells, 46 exploratory wildcat wells, 41 intermediate depth (300 m) coreholes (Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling [JOIDES]; Atlantic Slope Project [ASP]; Atlantic Margin Coring Project [AMCOR]), a few Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) core holes, and several hundred shallow-penetration (3-10 m) cores, seabed grab samples, and submersible samples (see Poag, 1978; 1982a,b; 1985a,b,c).

Four major offshore basins and troughs have been identified as a result of these research efforts. We summarize the stratigraphic framework and depositional history of the three best studied features (Georges Bank basin, Baltimore Canyon trough, and Blake Plateau basin), emphasizing their main features with a cross section through each basin. For additional regional compilations the reader should consult Bryan and Heirtzler (1984), Ewing and Rabinowitz (1984), Uchupi and Shor (1984) and Poag (1985c).

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